About Today’s Florida Keys
Getting to the Florida Keys
The Florida Keys are buffered from the Florida mainland by what locals call “the stretch,” 18-miles of two-lane highway with two 1-mile-long passing zones. “The stretch” is guarded at the top by The Last Chance Saloon,” by its name declaring the last chance to get a drink for the next 18 miles, most likely the longest dry length of highway between the mainland and Southern Most Point in Key West, a deprogramming stop many of us use when returning home after being away or “off the rock.” It is guarded at the bottom by Gilbert’s Resort, a marina, motel and one of the largest tiki huts in the Keys, a mega-weekend gathering place, popular with singles and families, positioned at the foot of the Jewfish Creek Bridge. Don’t slow down, but at the peak of the 65-foot-high fixed bridge, take a short glance to your right into the Florida Bay for a preview of the beauty you are about to experience.
If you are coming by car, you’ll enter the Keys in Key Largo, the second largest city in the island chain. It includes Ocean Reef, an exclusive private club community in north Key Largo with 2 championship 18-hole golf courses and its own private airport, containing homes owned by some of America’s most rich and famous. But unless you know one of the “Reefers”, or have an appointment with a Reef real estate agent, stay to the right once you cross the bridge, there are treasures enough for everyone all along the 110-mile highway that leads to Key West.
Several domestic airlines provide direct flights from many eastern and mid-west cities to Key West International Airport. Although at this time there are no scheduled airlines servicing Marathon International Airport, it is well located in the middle of the Keys and is an active hub for private aviation and charter services. Both airports have U.S. Customs and Border facilities available.
The Key West Express is a 4-hour daily passenger ferry service operating between Key West, Marco Island and Fort Myer’s beach. Of course, if you have your own boat, your options are practically limitless. So, it could be worse.